Plenty of people still have a difficult time wrapping their heads around what bitcoin is or why it even has value, especially as the virtual cryptocurrency continues to scale record heights. How isn’t this a Ponzi scheme, many have wondered?
A good way to look at it is to compare it to gold. What gives a shiny metal that doesn’t have a whole lot of real utility–outside of jewelry and limited industrial use–any kind of real world value?
The only reason gold has value is because one day, way back when, long before recorded history, society simply decided that this yellowish precious metal should represent “money.” From that day forward–as that idea spread virally across the globe (or at least the small part of the planet then settled by homo sapiens)–gold came to be worth something in the eyes of the people.
Uninscribed Lydian coins made from electrum, a naturally occurring gold and silver alloy, 6th century BCE. The first gold coins of the Grecian age were struck in Lydia around 700 BC.
As a representative (and thus store) of value, it became a universal intermediary between goods and services. This was the natural, inevitable economic evolution of the barter system. As it retained its value over time–and eventually throughout human history–gold gained cultural credibility. That’s the quick and easy answer.
Why the chemical element Au? There’s its obvious aesthetic qualities. But gold’s longevity comes from scarcity; its limited quantities were never able to keep up with demand. Since the beginning of human history, a total of 171,300 tonnes of gold have been mined.
As the human economy evolved, we’d eventually transition from gold to paper money, but up until the end of World War II, gold remained a fundamental piece of the financial system in the form of the gold standard, by which governments pegged the value of their printed currencies to amount of gold they owned.
After the war, the gold standard was partially abandoned with the establishment of Bretton Woods, yet the world system remained implicitly tied to it even as countries adopted the U.S. dollar as their reserve currency, being that the U.S. promised to maintain the price of gold at $35.
Then in 1971, due to the financial strains of the Vietnam War, President Nixon ended the direct convertibility of the dollar to gold, thus establishing the U.S. as a fiat currency, money that was backed only by the credibility of the U.S. government. No longer elementally linked to the modern economy, gold still kept its value as an investment asset, given its historic credibility and cultural relevance. Today, one ounce of gold is worth over $1600.
Bitcoin, in its present form, has a stark resemblance to gold. Both are backed by no one. Both are, relative to fiat currency, inconvenient for day to day use. Your gold coins or bitcoins (yet) won’t do much good at the grocery store. Both lack intrinsic value. If the apocalypse arrived tomorrow, your gold and BTC won’t help you survive against the zombies. Both have value only because society has confidence that they will maintain said value over time.
Bitcoin, of course, has been around only since 2009, so it doesn’t have the same kind of long term credibility. But the supply of bitcoins, like gold, are also constrained, built into its elegant mathematical model. There’s hard limit of 21 million bitcoins to be mined, which is predetermined to be reached during the year 2140. So as bitcoin demand and adoption continue to outpace its supply, its price will increase in lockstep.
So why bitcoin? Because bitcoin is gold on steroids, designed for a society that lives through the internet. Bitcoin is designed with the ideals of the contemporary cyber movement in mind: decentralization, peer to peer, cryptography. Easily transferable in ones and zeros, it’s a storage of value for a virtual society. As a payment system, it’s a temporal store of money that can be easily sent across the globe securely and speedily without counterparty risk. No matter the price of bitcoin, these benefits will always give it purpose. With bitcoin trading over $60, its market capitalization is approaching $700 million.
The benefits of this model are clear. Given its self-contained nature, it eliminates the need for inherent human interference. There’s no need for a central bank because bitcoin self-regulates. Certain aspects of it are, of course, vulnerable, such as mining, as well as security. Every month, it seems, we hear a new report of a hacked bitcoin wallet. Millions have been lost since 2011.
Yet these issues are self-correcting over time given bitcoin’s incentivization dynamics. Security of data and money is a concern that predates bitcoin and even currency; better practices and technologies can help prevent theft. And it wouldn’t make sense for any one entity, for instance, to attempt to monopolize mining, except to destroy it. After all, this part of the system is somewhat transparent, and bitcoin’s value will be retained in the degree that it is decentralized. If one entity controlled the world’s bitcoin output, it wouldn’t be worth very much, so trying to take over bitcoin doesn’t make financial sense.
Even destroying it poses problems, tantamount to eliminating the world’s gold supply. It’s possible that certain governments or companies even could attempt to cripple it, either through regulation or attacks on the system, yet destroying it completely, for now, seems out of the question. We have to look no further than BitTorrent. Despite years of assaults from the likes of Hollywood, the RIAA, and U.S. government, torrenting continues to drive the majority of internet traffic.
And as long as bitcoin survives, it will rebound. As long as it exists, it will grow. So ignore the warnings of hype and talk of a bubble, in the long run, it’s all more or less irrelevant. The value of bitcoin could crash again, like it did in the summer of 2011. Or it could keep skyrocketing. Whatever happens, neither gold nor bitcoin are going anywhere anytime soon. In the end, that’s all that really matters.
UPDATE: Heres charts for bitcoin and gold since the Nixon Shock. (via reddit)
Can you imagine presenting a TED talk at 11 years old? Birke Baehr did just that, and he totally rocked it.
There are enormously wealthy GMO companies such as Monsanto, Dow, and Kraft Foods who do not want us to even get a hint of what he’s talking about here. That’s the beauty of Social Media and the internet – it means we can pass these kinds of clips around and get folks to pay attention.
What we put into our bodies every day matters, and changing how we look at such things is an important part of a future society where health and sanity are as important as dollar bills. Watch:
The H7N9 bird flu virus can be transmitted not only through close contact but by airborne exposure, a team at the University of Hong Kong found after extensive laboratory experiments.
Though the virus appears to have been brought under control recently, the researchers urged the Hong Kong authorities to maintain strict surveillance, which should include not only poultry but humans and pigs.
“We also found that the virus can infect pigs, which was not previously known,” said Dr Maria Zhu Huachen, a research assistant professor at HKU’s School of Public Health.
There have been 131 confirmed human infections, with 36 deaths, the World Health Organisation said. All but one of the cases was on the mainland. The virus appears to have been brought under control largely due to restrictions at bird markets and there have been no new confirmed cases since May 8.
But Zhu said that although there was no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission, their study provided evidence that H7N9 was infectious and transmissible in mammals.
In the study, to be published today in the journal Science, ferrets were used to evaluate the infectivity of H7N9. It was found the virus could spread through the air, from one cage to another, albeit less efficiently.
Inoculated ferrets were infected before the appearance of most clinical symptoms. This means there may be more cases than have been detected or reported.
We also found that the virus can infect pigs, which was not previously known … People may be transmitting the virus before they even know that they’ve got it
DR MARIA ZHU HUACHEN, HKU’S SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH
“People may be transmitting the virus before they even know that they’ve got it,” Zhu said.
Additional tests using pigs, a major host of influenza viruses, showed that they could also get infected with H7N9. Zhu warned that H7N9 may combine with pig viruses to generate new variants.
On a more positive note, it was found that the virus is relatively mild.
“Most of the fatal H7N9 cases had underlying medical conditions, so there are probably some other factors that contribute to this kind of fatality,” Zhu said.
To avoid H7N9 becoming endemic in poultry populations, which would create a greater opportunity for human transmission, the researchers suggested a rethink on how live poultry markets are managed.
Zhu believed the Hong Kong government had “done a very good job” in this area and should continue to do so. The government implemented a surveillance programme on local and imported poultry in 1998. It includes monitoring the live poultry supply chain, pet shops, parks and the wild bird environment.
She said the government had collaborated with HKU on intensive surveillance of both birds and pigs. Zhu added that people who regularly had close contact with live poultry or pigs should take precautions, have routine body checks and report their case immediately if they feel unwell.
blue, patients infected with the H7N9 virus under treatment; red, those infected with H7N9 who have died; yellow, those who have fully recovered; and pink, those infected other types of the Influenza A virus, including H1N1.
In a very short period of time three scandals have rocked the Obama administration – Benghazi, the IRS, and the illegal seizure of AP reporters’ phone calls. The real truth, though, is that four scandals now beset the administration since there was no resolution to Fast and Furious due to Justice Department stonewalling.
But in spite of the fact that the mainstream media totally ignores Fast and Furious, which would make four scandals if the truth were important to elected officials and the mainstream media, a CIA official has told a Drudge Report editor that a fourth shoe is about to drop, make that the 5th shoe in the correct count, that has Obama political operatives at the White House literally shaking in their boots.
The comment section at Weasel Zippers went wild with speculation. One reader wondered if the new scandal involves proof of massive voter fraud. Another speculated that the scandal revolves around the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens in the Benghazi debacle, that Stevens was perhaps sent to an outpost at Benghazi rather than to remain at his post at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli. Had Stevens and his security detail remained in Tripoli, they would be alive today.
Why, then, was Stevens and his team sent to a very dangerous outpost at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi? The reader suggests that Obama and Hillary Clinton used Ambassador Stevens and other diplomats to run illegal arms from the Libyan rebels to the Syrian rebels, using the Turks as intermediaries.
The speculation surrounding the possible gun running scheme is a plausible one. It is no coincidence, then, that today U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued a warning to Hillary Clinton, stating that she could be called back to provide testimony under oath. And it is also no coincidence that in private circles inside the beltway the name of former CIA Director David Petraeus keeps coming up as one who may hold the key to the scandal and could be called back to testify before the committee.
Petraeus has already struck fear in the minds of administration officials when he leaked information to the effect that when he saw the official administration talking points early on concerning the Benghazi massacre, he stated to an aid that he was not willing to use any of that information. Curiously, shortly afterward news was leaked to the press about his affair, which led to his resignation. Some believe that Petraeus would like to provide further testimony to Congress in order to clear his name and to call to account Obama officials who concocted a sordid fiction to explain the massacre away.
But no one at this point can be certain even of that explanation.
One thing is for certain, however. The CIA source that provided top secret information that a mega-scandal is brewing has been 100 percent reliable in the past when providing hot tips concerning the murky underbelly of Washington, D.C.
There is now a way to extend the lifespan of organisms so that humans could conceivably live to be 800 years old. In an amazing development, scientists at the University of Southern California have announced that they’ve extended the lifespan of yeast bacteria tenfold — and the recipe they used to do it might easily translate into humans. It involves tinkering with two genes, and cutting down your calorie intake. Tests have already started on people in Ecuador.
According to an announcement from PLoS Genetics:
Researchers have created baker’s yeast capable of living to 800 in yeast years without apparent side effects. The basic but important discovery, achieved through a combination of dietary and genetic changes, brings scientists closer to controlling the survival and health of the unit of all living systems: the cell. “We’re setting the foundation for reprogramming healthy life,” says study leader Valter Longo of the University of Southern California.
Longo’s group put baker’s yeast on a calorie-restricted diet and knocked out two genes – RAS2 and SCH9 – that promote aging in yeast and cancer in humans.
“We got a 10-fold life span extension that is, I think, the longest one that has ever been achieved in any organism,” Longo says. Normal yeast organisms live about a week.
“I would say 10-fold is pretty significant,” says Anna McCormick, chief of the genetics and cell biology branch at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and Longo’s program officer. The NIA funds such research in the hope of extending healthy life span in humans through the development of drugs that mimic the life-prolonging techniques used by Longo and others, McCormick adds.
Baker’s yeast is one of the most studied and best understood organisms at the molecular and genetic level. Remarkably, in light of its simplicity, yeast has led to the discovery of some of the most important genes and pathways regulating aging and disease in mice and other mammals.
Longo’s group next plans to further investigate life span extension in mice. The group is already studying a human population in Ecuador with mutations analogous to those described in yeast.
“People with two copies of the mutations have very small stature and other defects,” Longo says. “We are now identifying the relatives with only one copy of the mutation, who are apparently normal. We hope that they will show a reduced incidence of diseases and an extended life span.”
Longo cautions that, as in the Ecuador case, longevity mutations tend to come with severe growth deficits and other health problems. Finding drugs to extend the human life span without side effects will not be easy.
I’ve always been a skeptic when it comes to life-extending research, but this has me rethinking my position.
A California law that requires all semi-automatic handguns to be equipped with technology that stamps its identifying information on bullet casings is now in effect after years of delays.
Though signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007, the law couldn’t take effect as it was supposed to in 2010 because of patents on the technology, including at least one that had been bought up by a gun rights group to delay the law’s implementation.
On Friday, Attorney General Kamala Harris officially certified and announced that patents were no longer an issue. Former state Assemblyman Mike Feuer, who authored the law, hailed it as a “monumental day for law enforcement” and said it was the first such law to go into effect in the nation. Other states, notably New York, have looked at such a law, but have had troubles getting it passed.
“This very important technology will help us as law enforcement in identifying and locating people who improperly and illegally use and discharge firearms,” Harris said.
The law doesn’t impact the more than 1,200 guns already on the state’s official firearm roster. Only new or modified semi-automatic handguns sold in California must be equipped with the technology that “microstamps” a bullet casing with a code identifying a gun’s make, model and serial number whenever the gun is fired.
New guns are not often added to the roster and one is not expected this year, said Lynda Gledhill, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office.
Gun rights groups argued that the law was an effective ban on new guns because of the burdens it places on manufacturers.
“Manufactures are not going to create a special run of firearms with all of these very burdensome manufacturing technologies just so they can comply and produce firearms for one market,” said Brandon Combs, executive director of the Calguns Foundation, a gun rights group based in San Carlos, Calif.
The Calguns Foundation extended a patent by paying a $555 fee, Combs said. He said the group was planning to conduct an “audit” of the state Department of Justice to determine whether the patents were truly “unencumbered.” The group has challenged requirements of the state’s handgun roster as unconstitutional in a federal court filing.
Feuer, who is running for LA city attorney, said the law would likely extend to other states which had been “looking to California to see if our law goes into effect.”
About 40 percent of California’s homicides are unsolved each year, most of which involve guns, Feuer said, but “we can do something to change that.”
Syria is making preparations to strike Tel Aviv in case Israel launches another attack on its territory, The Sunday Times reported on Sunday.
The Syrian army has begun deploying advanced surface-to-surface missiles, the report said, adding that it has received orders to strike central Israel in case additional attacks against Syria are carried out.
The Sunday Times said that the information was obtained by reconnaissance satellites that were tracking the Syrian forces. According to the report, Syria was deploying advanced Tishreen missiles which are capable of carrying a holf-ton warhead.
Israel, foreign media reported, was behind three attacks against targets in Syria in the past five months. The air raids, it was said, targeted shipments of weapons heading to Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
Israel refused to officially confirm the recent attacks.
Just when we thought it was safe to turn the news on again, a new scandal is brewing in the Obama administration, this one involving the Environmental Protection Agency. It has every possibility of being as big as the IRS scandal, because just like that one, it centers on administration officials playing favorites.
At issue is the waiver of fees for Freedom of Information Act, commonly called FOIA, requests. FOIA fees are supposed to be summarily waived in all instances where the information will be released to the general public, such as the press and government watchdog groups.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute reviewed FOIA requests received by the EPA from January 2012 to the spring of 2013, according to The Washington Examiner and the results were startling.
“This is as clear an example of disparate treatment as the IRS’ hurdles selectively imposed upon groups with names ominously reflecting an interest in, say, a less intrusive or biased federal government,” said CEI fellow Chris Horner to the Examiner.
The Examiner’s Michal Conger reported:
For 92 percent of requests from green groups, the EPA cooperated by waiving fees for the information. Those requests came from the Natural Resources Defense Council, EarthJustice, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, The Waterkeeper Alliance, Greenpeace, Southern Environmental Law Center and the Center for Biological Diversity.
Those “green” groups that were charged a fee either didn’t indicate that the information being requested would be disseminated to the public or failed to respond to the agency’s request to justify the fee waiver.
CEI received almost the exact opposite results — 93 percent of their requests for fee waivers to the EPA were denied. One, admittedly, because CEI failed to note that the information would be disseminated to the public. However, The Examiner reported:
The rest were denied because the agency said CEI “failed to demonstrate that the release of the information requested significantly increases the public understanding of government operations or activities.” Similarly, requests from conservative groups Judicial Watch and National Center for Public Policy Research were approved half the time, and all requests from Franklin Center and the Institute for Energy Research were denied.
“Their practice is to take care of their friends and impose ridiculous obstacles to deny problematic parties’ requests for information,” said Horner.
The White House’s Chicago-style politics served as a blueprint for all the agencies under its control — the IRS, HHS, EPA, Justice and Labor to name a few. As Sen. Marco Rubio noted in a floor speech Wednesday, “These are the tactics of the third world.”
The president is turning the United States into a banana republic.
Earlier tonight, a federal court UPHELD my Executive Order and Arizona’s law denying driver’s licenses to illegal aliens who President Obama has allowed to remain in our country under his outrageous deferred action program.
The court ruled that Obama’s program DOES NOT preempt Arizona’s ability to determine who can receive a driver’s license.
This is a great victory for state’s rights and the rule of law!
As Governor, I have taken an oath to uphold the laws of Arizona and I will continue to vigorously defend the citizens of Arizona and the duly-enacted laws of our State.
Pro-gun activists are planning to march from Virginia into Washington, D.C., on July 4 as part of an open carry demonstration that could bring thousands of illegally displayed weapons into the nation’s capital.
The event, coordinated by libertarian radio host Adam Kokesh and advertised as an “Open Carry March on Washington,” is hoping to bring upward of 10,000 demonstrators ready to say “in the SUBTLEST way possible that we would rather die on our feet than live on our knees.”
The subtlety will apparently be exhibited by breaking Washington, D.C., law, which does not issue any permits to carry firearms openly or in any other manner.
“We will march with rifles loaded & slung across our backs to put the government on notice that we will not be intimidated & cower in submission to tyranny,” the event’s description reads on Facebook. “This will be a non-violent event, unless the government chooses to make it violent. Should we meet physical resistance, we will peacefully turn back, having shown that free people are not welcome in Washington, & returning with the resolve that the politicians, bureaucrats, & enforcers of the federal government will not be welcome in the land of the free.”
While an earlier version of the event’s listing described it as an “act of civil disobedience, not a permitted event,” according to an update on May 6, there will be “coordination with D.C. law enforcement prior to the event” now that the march has gained momentum.
“I will recommend that they do the best they can to honor their oaths and escort us on our route,” Kokesh wrote on Facebook. “Failing to provide that commitment to safety, we will either be informed that we will only be allowed up to a certain point where we would be arrested.”
Warning of a “remote chance” of violence, Kokesh said supporters must be prepared to “submit to arrest without resisting,” if law enforcement attempts to shut down the event.
Over 1,000 people have so far RSVP’d to the event on Facebook. While Kokesh and supporters have been quick to defend the event as a completely peaceful demonstration, Salon’s Alex Seitz-Wald reports that the former GOP congressional candidate “seems to have become increasingly radicalized” as he’s taken his libertarian message to online radio. Seitz-Wald points to a recent tweet from Kokesh: “gun rights” activist guns “open carry” washington event facebook march “supreme court” virginia loaded weapon “law enforcement” official kokesh provocateur offense feds liberty freedom fear news inspire “independence day” manipulation rights government reaction police brutality regulation arrest constitution “2nd amendment” peace violence protest law “civil war” unseen forces free freedom humanity u.s. “united states” america american illuminati “new world order” elite obama “gun control” 3d printed gun 2013 alex jones adam vs the man infowars david icke lindsey williams gerald celente safe armed citizen illegal media mainstream bilderberg 2013 london When the government comes to take your guns, you can shoot government agents, or submit to slavery. — Adam Kokesh (@adamkokesh) May 3, 2013
Open Carry March on Washington #OpenCarry130704
D.C. Police Chief: We Will Arrest Adam Kokesh and Open Carry Protesters
“Passing into the District of Columbia with loaded firearms is a violation of the law and we’ll have to treat it as such,” she told NewsChannel 8.
Kokesh plans to have 10,000 open carry activists march on the Capitol. Over 2,000 have so far pledged on Kokesh’s Facebook page to attend the July 4th event.
Adam appeared on the Alex Jones Show on Monday to explain the march.
Adam vs. the Man activist Adam Kokesh, a Marine Corps Reserve veteran, has announced an armed march on Washington D.C. for July 4th. The event calls for protesters to carry loaded rifles slung across their backs as they march on Washington. It has been announced on Kokesh’s Facebook page.
Appearing briefly on the Alex Jones Show today, Adam Kokesh explained, “This is an armed revolt against the American government. Make no mistake about it.”
Is Adam Kokesh crazy, or courageous?
On one hand, there’s no denying Adam Kokesh has a monstrous set of cajones. Announcing such an event takes a level of courage bordering on sheer insanity (for reasons I’ll outline below). But at one level, you gotta hand it to Kokesh for being willing to stand his ground on issues he believes in. If more people followed their passions and refused to be silenced bygovernment, we wouldn’t be living under a tyrannical government regime in the first place.